Twenty years ago, Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin introduced George Clooney’s batnippled Batman, a pointlessly zombie-like Bane, a pun-happy Arnold Schwarzenegger, the “Bat Credit Card,” and a bunch of other foolishness you’d probably rather forget. The 1997 movie had little in common with most of Schumacher’s other work (The Lost Boys, Flatliners, Falling Down, The Client, A Time to Kill, 8mm, Phone Booth, etc.), and it didn’t quite hit the note of “camp in a good way” either. The Batman franchise went on hiatus until Christopher Nolan rebooted it.
Now in a lengthy interview with VICE, Schumacher spoke candidly about the movie’s poor reception, the sequel he almost made, why Val Kilmer quit, and why the Batsuit had nipples. (Surprisingly, the Batsuit nipples weren’t the reason Kilmer quit.)
He kicked off his interview with an apology: “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.” He said people reacted “like I had murdered a baby” but, nonetheless, he took responsibility. “I take full responsibility. I walked into it with my eyes open and what I really feel bad about is the crew. […] I feel like their work wasn’t acknowledged like it could have been.”
This isn’t the first time Schumacher has apologized. Back in 2014, he apologized and made a joke at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s expense, telling Variety, “There’s nobody else to blame but me. I didn’t do a good job. George did. Chris [O’Donnell] did. Uma [Thurman] is brilliant in it. Arnold is Arnold.”